Steve’s Oscar Predictions: Part Two – The Acting Awards

One of the great joys in movie viewing is seeing an actor play a role to perfection, whether that role calls for subtlety, bombast, or some of both. There were many wonderful performances in 2011, so many that there were not enough nominations to go around. In the cases of Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, they both did receive nominations, but could have received more, since they both delivered multiple great performances in the year. They fared better than Ryan Gosling, though. He delivered fine performances in Drive, Crazy Stupid Love, and The Ides of March but wasn’t recognized with a single nomination. What does a guy have to do? As we shed a tear for Ryan, let’s take a look at those who did get nominated and, once again, my thoughts on who will win and who should.

Best Supporting Actor

Seen: Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Jonah Hill (Moneyball), Nick Nolte (Warriors)

Haven’t Seen: Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close), Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn)

Will Win: Christopher Plummer – a delightful performance as a gay man who finally comes out of the closet late in life. His character was so life affirming, even as he faced death. He is well deserving for this role and it also gives the Academy the chance to recognize his wonderful career.

Should Win: Christopher Plummer. However, (much to my surprise) I also really loved Jonah Hill in Moneyball. Nick Nolte was terrific, but the role of a man suffering the ravages of alcoholism was maybe a bit too easy for Nick! Actually, I wish this could go to Gosling for Crazy Stupid Love in order to pay tribute to his fabulous year.

Best Supporting Actress

Seen: Octavia Spencer (The Help), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)

Haven’t Seen: Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs)

Will Win: Octavia Spencer – she’s been cleaning up at the award shows and she’ll win again here. Two things make her almost a sure bet: she deserves it and the Academy’s liberal guilt means they can’t vote against her.

Should Win: I’m can’t speak for McTeer’s work, but any of the other four are so deserving of this. Chastain was delightfully nutty in The Help and she deserves something for a year that included truly stellar performances in The Tree of Life and Take Shelter. What is Bejo doing in the supporting category? Wasn’t that a lead role? Whatever it was, she was fabulous. I’d even go so far as to say that it was her performance that made The Artist as great as it was! I thought Bridesmaids was overrated, but McCarthy’s performance was one of the few truly bright spots in it.

Best Actor

Seen: Brad Pitt (Moneyball), George Clooney (The Descendants), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Demian Bichir (A Better Life)

Haven’t Seen: Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)

Will Win: Jean Dujardin – this bandwagon has been rolling along with such momentum that I would be surprised if he doesn’t win, although Clooney has a shot at the upset. Personally, I enjoyed Dujardin, but I wasn’t knocked out by his performance.

Should Win: Brad Pitt, although not for Moneyball. The best performance of the year was Pitt in The Tree of Life. Unfortunately, that was a love it or hate it kind of film and I think his work got lost in the shuffle. I loved him in Moneyball, too. I also thought Clooney was marvelous in The Descendants, as was Bichir in A Better Life.

Best Actress

Seen: Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Haven’t Seen: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

Will Win: Viola Davis – for the reasons why see Octavia Spencer up above. Davis’ performance is splendid. As I’ve said before, she deserved a better movie, but she did so much to make it as good as it was.

Should Win: Viola Davis, although Mara gave one of my favorite performances of the year in Tattoo. I’m still looking forward to seeing Williams as Marilyn, but I wouldn’t mind seeing her win this partly in honor of her work in Meek’s Cuttoff. She’s another great talent, like Chastain, that I look forward to seeing more of in the coming years.




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